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2021 MLB Draft Profile: Matt McLain

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Would the Marlins select the UCLA shortstop with the No. 16 overall pick if he’s still on the board?

UCLA v Oregon State Photo by Andy Bao/Getty Images

Overview

Position: INF

Height: 5’10″

Weight: 175 pounds

School: UCLA

Matt McLain is a middle infielder from Southern California and plays for his hometown UCLA Bruins. McLain is one of the top ranked hitters and middle infielder in the 2021 MLB Draft.

McLain has had a great collegiate career with the Bruins and is expected to be top draft pick in this upcoming draft. The UCLA middle infielder is one of the top contact hitters in this draft class that also plus speed and could potentially be a 20-20 player in the future.

During his collegiate career, Matt McLain is a career .273 hitter but has been one of the best hitters in the country over the past two seasons. During the shortened 2020 season, McLain slashed .397/.422/.621 with 23 hits, four doubles, three home runs and a 1.043 OPS. In his third season at UCLA, McLain is doing more of the same by slashing .325/.432/.578 with 50 hits, eight doubles, nine home runs, 27 RBIs, 29 walks, nine stolen bases and a 1.010 OPS.

On MLB Pipeline, Matt McLain is the 15th-ranked draft prospect and the top collegiate infielder in the 2021 draft class. On ESPN, McLain is 11th-ranked draft prospect and the top ranked second base prospect in the 2021 draft class.

Strengths

  • Very good bat-to-ball skills
  • Surprising power that’s showing this season
  • Has walked more than struck out in the 2021 season
  • Plus speed
  • Only a 13.7 K%
  • Good arm strength
  • Performed well in Cape Cod

Weaknesses

  • Questions if McLain could stick at SS
  • Power might not stick with a wood bat
  • 5’10” 175 pounds is pretty small for a shortstop

Pro Comparison: Whit Merrifield

Projection: Top 20 draft pick

Bottom Line

The Miami Marlins need to add more hitters to their farm system and middle infielder Matt McLain might be the best available at pick #16. McLain has one of the best hit tools in this draft class which is something the Marlins farm system has struggled with.

One big question mark with the former first round pick—25th overall selection by the Diamondbacks in 2018—is what position he will play at the next level. Some scouts believe McLain is capable of sticking at shortstop but he’s a bit undersized for the position. Personally, I think McLain could move to second base and be a plus defender there.

Matt McLain has all the attributes to be a fast riser through a minor league farm system. There’s no guarantee that he’ll still be on the board for the Marlins, but he should be among their top options if available.